You may have heard us mention once or twice that we place great importance on the quality of the ingredients that go into making our gins but, if still you had any doubt, let Masterchef: The Professionals contestant Theodore Chana put them to rest.
We’ve always been fans of pairing food with our gins, but Chef Theodore has gone and used McQueen Gin directly as an ingredient in his latest 10-course tasting menu. Hosted at the renowned Venachar Lochside in Callander, not only were we ‘on the menu’, but McQueen Gin performed a Gin Masterclass for the guests. Our mouths are watering just recalling it.
Now, in case you missed Masterchef or gin has dulled your memory back to 2016 when he was a firm favourite to win the title, here is what you need to know about Chef Theodore. Growing up in Perthshire and now settled there in the village of Braco, Theodore has always been a huge advocate for the incredible local produce available in the region; only willing to use the very best ingredients in his dishes.
His craft and attention to every detail of flavour has been developed during more than 12 years of experience, working at restaurants including the two Michelin Star ‘Gidleigh Park Hotel’ with Michael Caines, and ‘Kinloch House Hotel’ with Steven McCallum. Theodore has also spent time at ‘The Fat Duck’ by Heston Blumenthal and at Scotland’s only two Michelin Star restaurant, ‘Restaurant Andrew Fairlie’ at Gleneagles Hotel.
You might say, Theodore knows his stuff. Which is why we are so delighted he carefully selected McQueen Gin as an ingredient for his 10-course tasting menu. But what of the menu itself, we hear you drool! Well, here it is.
Served at Venachar Lochside restaurant in Callander on Saturday 12th January, Chef Theodore’s 10-course tasting menu included:
An opening course of canapes:
- Apricot and Goats Cheese Mousse on a Brioche Crouton
- Beetroot and McQueen Gin Cured Halibut on a Nori Seaweed Cracker
- Crispy Pistachio and Quail Scotch Egg
Followed by 8 courses of:
- Wild Hearth Bakery Sourdough, with Nori and Spinach Katy Rodger’s Butter
- Jerusalem Artichoke Sip with bacon and herb oil
- Pea Panna Cotta, with Ayrshire Ham Hough Rillette and a Tomato Salsa
- Potato and Truffle Ravioli, with Wild Mushrooms and Beurre Blanc
- Seared Orkney Scallop with Blistered Corn, Pickled Cauliflower Floret, Roasted Cauliflower Purée and a Saffron Dressing
- Loin of Inverlochlarig Venison, Fondant Potato, Koffmans Cabbage, Parsnip Purée and a Juniper Jus
- Smoked Lavender Lemon Posset, with Chocolate, Honeycomb, and Sable Soldiers
- Spiced Fruit and Frangipane Slice, with Golden Raisin Purée, and Brandy Ice Cream
Concluding with a course of Petit Fours: - McQueen Gin Lemon and Mint Tart
- Scottish Tablet
- White Chocolate and Raspberry Bon Bon
The Gin Masterclass
Of course, such a sensational menu requires a sensational gin! We were on hand to deliver a McQueen Gin Masterclass for all in attendance. Celebrating gin’s relationship with food and the fine details that make McQueen’s true craft spirit worthy of being selected by a Chef as discerning as Theodore. Our very own Dale McQueen himself was in attendance on the day and had this to say:
“It was a truly special day. A one of a kind event, with special food that celebrated the finest produce and ingredients Scotland has to offer, and surely one of the finest rising chefs too. Like Chef Theodore we take great pride in our craft and the quality of ingredients used, and we’re thrilled he has chosen McQueen Gin as an ingredient in his incredible tasting menu.”
Inspired? Why not be bold and experiment with McQueen Gin in your own kitchen? (FYI - drinking a large G&T while making Spag-bol doesn’t really count). Pop a pic on social media with #McQueenCuisine. We’d love to see what you come up with!